Vintage store signs of a vanishing Italian enclave

Like its counterparts in the South Village, Carroll Gardens, and the North Bronx, the long-established Italian neighborhood in East Williamsburg, with its old-school shops and storefronts, is shrinking.


So before Graham Avenue (renamed “Via Vespucci” after the Italian explorer) is swarmed by wine bars and doggy day care centers, take a moment to appreciate the iconic signs stretching from Ainslie Street to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.


Looking at the Emily’s Pork Store sign makes me hungry. I wish I’d stopped in for some fresh mozzarella. And Caffe Capri! I love the mermaid crest on the left. This is what the sign looks like without the last bit cut off (it reads pastry, expresso, cappuccino).


Grande Monuments is a wonderful sign on its own. But there’s a bonus on the side of the building: another sign with the old two-letter phone exchange.


The ST is probably an abbreviation for nearby Stagg Street.


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7 Responses to “Vintage store signs of a vanishing Italian enclave”

  1. David George Says:

    The “ST” in the phone number was indeed “Stagg,” the exchange that was in use at the time:

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thanks for the confirmation!

  3. James Ryan (@HeismanClub) Says:

    the Bonanno family ran (runs?) a lot of that area, The Motion Lounge famous from the Donnie Brasco story is on that block

  4. Nice Expresso Coffee photos | Gourmet Coffee Review Says:

    […] Caffe Capri- one of my favorite signs in Williamsburg Image by *Bitch Cakes* linked to from here:… […]

  5. New York’s Italian food stores are fading fast | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] New York’s Italian-Amerian neighborhoods continue to shrink, more and more of the grocery stores, butchers, and bakeries that made the city’s many Little […]

  6. Peet Piecoro Says:

    Yes there are many changes in my neighborhood, some good, some not so good, but there are still many of us Italians with too much love and memories from this place to just pack up and leave.

  7. The old-school store signs of Washington Heights | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Check out more vintage store signs, this time in Brooklyn. […]

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